Understanding Constipation -- Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on September 11, 2023
1 min read

The symptoms of constipation include:

  • Hard, compacted stools that are difficult or painful to pass
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Fewer bowel movements than usual
  • Stomachache or cramping that is relieved by bowel movements
  • Bloody stools due to tearing of hemorrhoids and anal fissures
  • Leaks of wet, almost diarrhea-like stool between regular bowel movements
  • Constipation is associated with fever and lower abdominal pain or swelling.
  • You have vomiting or a loss of appetite.
  • You have blood in your stools; this may be from a fissure or hemorrhoid but could also be a sign of colorectal cancer; changes in bowel movement pattern, such as passing pencil-thin stools, may also signal colorectal cancer.
  • Your constipation develops after you start a new prescription drug or take vitamin or mineral supplements; you may need to discontinue the medication or change the dosage.
  • You or your child has been constipated and is in pain.
  • You are elderly or disabled and have been constipated for a week or more; you may have an impacted stool.
  • You are losing weight even though you aren't dieting.
  • You have pain with bowel movements.